Hot jockey-trainer duos can generate lofty win percentages

December 26th, 2023

When a hot trainer teams up with a hot jockey, their win percentage together can rise to impressive heights.

Consider trainer Brad Cox and jockey Axel Concepcion. In December 2023, Cox was a two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer with an overall win percentage ranging from 24% to 28%, depending on the year. Meanwhile, Concepcion was an up-and-coming apprentice jockey with a 20% win rate in 2023.

After spending much of the year riding in Maryland, West Virginia, and Delaware, Concepcion shifted his tack to Kentucky for the end of the Churchill Downs fall meet, followed by the Turfway Park Holiday Meet. It was at Turfway where Concepcion—riding with a beneficial five-pound weight allowance—forged a remarkably successful partnership with Cox.

Cox and Concepcion actually teamed up at Churchill Downs a handful of times, winning a $30,000 maiden claimer with Guest of Honor. But at Turfway, they started winning left and right. A $7,500 maiden claimer with Cooperstown… a $30,000 claimer with Efficacious… a $50,000 allowance optional claimer with Quarrymen… and on Dec. 23, they teamed up to win three races on a single card.

Brisnet statistics told the story. By the end of Dec. 23, the budding Cox/Concepcion partnership had yielded eight wins from 18 starts, generating a 44% win rate and a positive ROI of $2.42 for every $2 win bet. Generating a flat-bet profit with Cox trainees isn’t easy, given how popular they are at the betting window. But blindly betting every Cox trainee ridden by Concepcion would have delivered a meaningful profit during the one-month span from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23.

It’s important to note that these high-percentage partnerships tend to ebb and flow in productivity over time. A hot trainer cools down, and so does their partnership with a particular jockey. A race meet ends, and jockey and trainer go their separate ways. And even if a lofty win percentage is sustained over months, the profitability can evaporate as bettors catch on and cause odds to drop.

But if you can identify a hot jockey/trainer duo before other bettors notice, ride it for all it’s worth. As the Cox/Concepcion example illustrates, the results can be lucrative.